LPR to demand release of 25 prisoners who were not handed over in December - Kobtseva
LUGANSK, January 25 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Lugansk People’s Republic will demand that Ukraine return the 25 prisoners who were not handed over to LPR because of Kiev’s last minute refusal to pass them during the December 2017 prisoner exchange, said LPR representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the Republic’s working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva.
“Ukraine didn’t return 25 people to us,” Kobtseva told the Thursday video conference with Donetsk and Moscow which addressed international organisations’ reports on Ukrainian crimes in Donbass. “Ukraine had confirmed the prisoner exchange lists, but as you know from media reports, it took out Russian Federation citizens from the list at the last moment, unilaterally and without explanations.”
“In the run-up to the second phase of prisoner exchange, as it follows from Ukrainian rhetoric, LPR demands the return of more than 100 people,” she said.
On 27 December, LPR, DPR and Ukraine carried out the biggest prisoner exchange in the past 14 months near Mayorsk crossing point on the contact line in DPR responsibility zone. LPR passed 16 detainees to Ukraine, and Kiev passed 73 people to LPR.
In a telephone conversation with LPR and DPR leaders Igor Plotnitskiy and Alexander Zakharchenko on 15 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukrainian special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk’s initiative to carry out the 306 for 74 prisoner swap in the near future. The Donbass Republics heads assured the Russian leader that they were ready for the prisoner exchange.
Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues.
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